Dead or live and everything in between: why are people searching for Jon Snow in 'Game of Thrones'?

Executive editors Natan Edelsburg (@twatan) and Adam Flomenbaum (@flobombin), and guest contributors, bring the inside track on the latest developments in the TV space.

Lauren Young is the Data Insights Research Manager at Quantcast. This story contains spoilers on the last season of Game of Thrones.

Is Jon Snow, the popular character on Game of Thrones, dead or alive? Fans have been dying to know the fate of "Game of Thrones" character Jon Snow since the end of last season. From fan theories of Melisandre's resurrecting him to reported sightings of Kit Harington on set for the sixth season, the internet has been obsessed with Jon Snow. Using Quantcast data, we looked at how people are searching for Jon Snow by state and found some popular themes. The results give a glimpse into the American psyche — perhaps one with implications (and applications) even beyond "Game of Thrones."

Jon Snow dominated in search volume compared to other "Game of Thrones" characters, making up over half of all "GoT" character searches. The next most highly searched character, Daenerys Targaryen, came in at only one sixth of Snow’s volume. Perhaps it was Sansa’s escape from Ramsay and flight to the North that made her the third most popular character, followed by Arya and intrigue surrounding her induction into the guild of the Faceless Men.

Given the massive number of Jon Snow-related searches, we were curious as to what, in particular, people were looking for. Aside from those seeking general information about Snow, searches across the U.S. were focused on details of his death, family lineage and theories or spoilers. Pockets of optimism for resurrection were clustered around Kentucky, North Carolina and South Carolina, while Illinois and Indiana focused on the character's love story with wildling Ygritte. As the season about to begin is the first not based on one of the published novels in the "GoT" series, we were not surprised to see high interest (mainly from California, Colorado, Massachusetts and Georgia) in how the show will diverge from the books by George R. R. Martin.

Following are the types of terms and phrases included in each of the search categories:

  • Alive: phrases related to Snow's possibly being alive like "resurrected" and "survived"
  • Books: terms related to the books or the author’s name
  • Death: words related to death, like "stabbing" and "murder"
  • Lineage: words that indicated interest in familial relationships, like "mother," "father," "sister" and "brother"
  • Love: terms related to love interests in the show, like "girlfriend," "romance" and "Ygritte"
  • Theories: searches for news, theories and spoilers related to Snow
  • Misc: All other search terms, with no clear affinity toward other categories

The death of Jon Snow shocked the "Game of Thrones" community. Searches for his character revealed how each state tried to make sense of this event. Although Kit Harrington has said that Jon Snow is dead, this Sunday, April 24th, audiences will begin to uncover whether or not that is the case. Regardless of what happens, we’ll be tuned in to see what Martin does with the intricate storylines of these characters in the books.

Quantcast has one of the world’s most-sophisticated data-intelligence platforms, using big data and machine learning to solve the biggest challenges in marketing. Quantcast Measure is used by leading publishers for free audience measurement, including demographic and lifestyle insights powered by Quantcast Audience Grid. Quantcast Advertise is a leading programmatic advertising solution for reaching and influencing targeted audiences. Learn more at www.quantcast.com.

You can access the Future of TV hub here.Sign up to receive The Drum's Future of TV newsletter.

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis

Join us, it’s free.

Want to read this article and others just like it? All you need to do is become a member of The Drum. Basic membership is quick, free and you will be able to receive daily news updates.